My microfiction “Familiar Girls” was published by Blood Song Books in “Curses & Cauldrons.” Their witch-based anthology boasts “over 200 tiny dark tales of magic, mischief, murder, mayhem & madness” and is available as an ebook or trade paperback. I’m proud to be published alongside so many great writers, including my wife!
365 Tomorrow published my scifi microfiction “Birdu Vanilla.” The story is a reflection on senseless gaming but don’t confuse me for a ‘video games make you hurt people’ right-winger ignoring the rightful causes of gun violence. I’m more of a flightless bird who’s too fat to fly. You’ll notice the comments are more forgiving than my last piece on 365.
365 Tomorrows is an online journal that publishes speculative fiction every single fething day. The site is an excellent complement to your morning bowl of cereal and glass of Moloko Plus.
Today we finish a hundred pages of literary abandon.
When I was ten, I wrote The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl. It was a fantasy travesty, an attempt at fascinating narrative by an immature writer that ended in drivel. You can start from the beginning by going here.
But we’re done. This is my last post on THOF:TWOFB (huh, not as catchy as LOTR) covering the final chapters.
Thank the gods there never was a sequel.
Our ‘hero on foot’ has come a long way. Javis has befriended wizards, slain knights with silly names like Sir Venice and Sir Treacle, been healed by a pontificating ogre, ordered a ‘hot squirt’ in a cathedral dedicated to cats, and tossed an urn into the face of his deadliest foe, then beheaded the guy.
But now Javis has to deal with something even stranger.
A fight between a demon and a zombie.
The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl is a trash book. Every page, every sentence, every word. Trash. And I can say that because I’m the book’s writer (in my defense, I wrote the abomination when I was ten). The manuscript is a compilation of every overused fantasy trope bound by poor syntax and grammar. Want to start at the beginning? Go here.
Today we will look at the only battle in the promised ‘war of the bowl.’ Spoiler. The battle is trash.
A recap. Our hero is chilling in a cathedral. His mentor is hanging out in a cave. The villain is unconscious, carried around by his friends.
So basically nothing is happening.
But this chapter isn’t called “The Battle” for nothing.
This is Part III of the book I wrote in middle school. If you want to start from the beginning, go here.
In 1999, when I was ten, I wrote a book. It was called The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl and it was the worst thing ever written. Some twenty years later and I’ve recovered that particular manuscript from my parent’s attic—and out of my immense generosity, I’ve decided to review, summarize, and post excerpts for your general amusement.
The book was a poor imitation of Lord of the Rings with the One Ring to Rule Them All replaced by kitchenware. Tolkien’s decision to use a ring makes sense. A ring is ceremonial, has intrinsic value, can represent the union of souls, has a sense of permanence and significance. Today, we wear rings to show our devoted love, or alma mater, or sport’s team, or membership in a secret society. A bowl? I guess you use it to eat cereal.
There’s a delight in watching bad movies. I hope y’all will equally enjoy bad literature.
If you’ve missed the story so far, all you need to know is that our hero is badly injured and lost in the woods. That’s really all you need to know. Seriously.
Javis Kyle is discovered by an ogre named Lars. Apparently my ogres are smart, compassionate creatures.
And this is what ten-year-old-me thinks smart people sound like:
By the way, Lars is dressed like a gentleman scholar. I hired an artist to recreate this.
This is Part II of my summary of the book I wrote in middle school. If you want to start with Chapter One, go here.
In Several Short Sentences About Writing, Klinkenborg says every good writer starts with a good sentence. They write a good sentence, then write another. But there isn’t a single, decent string-of-words in The Hero on Foot: The War of the Bowl. Even the title chonks like a basketball-sized cat.
But that’s why we’re here. Not to read literature, but to laugh at ugly prose. The following is the first book I ever wrote.
First, a recap. Our hero’s family is dead, his village destroyed. Okay, recap over.
We find our protagonist living in the woods Into the Wild style.
Is it cool?
I imagine my fifth grade teacher writing “cool” like John Oliver says “dope.”
(John Oliver also has an unimpressed “cool” but the gifs were too grainy.)
The following is the first ten pages of the book I wrote in middle school. This is a roast, not literary lesson. Come chuckle with me at an author who tossed into his novel everything he thought was cool without regard to plot or complexity or voice or how to tell a good story.
Might be fun.
The book begins with a prologue in italics because of course it’s italics. The prologue is less scene, more opening scrawl of Star Wars. It’s pure, unadulterated exposition. Horrible, unnecessary exposition.
We’re introduced to the ancestors of our protagonist for some reason. These early knights migrated to a mountain and created a town. It’s not complicated. They were accompanied by a Talking Cat.
The Cat is murdered and never mentioned again.
That is nearly all I say about the Silver Bowl. While the artifact resurfaces later, its function, its purpose, its abilities are never explained.
Obviously the idea of a tempting, powerful metal object was stolen from Lord of the Rings. Ten-year-old-me must have ransacked his brain meat trying to think of an alternative to The One Ring and settled on a bowl. Maybe he was eating cereal.